“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

As most everyone who knows me knows, I wrote a book called Land the Tech Job You Love. The word “love” is in the title very specifically. As I discussed with my editors at Pragmatic what we’d title the book, the one point on which I was adamant was that “love” had to be in the title. I didn’t want you to find a job you liked, or tolerated, but one that you loved. I wanted “job you love” to be a constant reminder to the reader.

Every so often, either in person or in an online forum, someone will make a snarky comment along the lines of “Work sucks, work is supposed to suck, why fool yourself into thinking that you’ll ever enjoy going to work in the morning?” I always answer yes, I do believe that it’s possible to get a job you love, and if you’re not in one now, then you can find the next one that you do love, or you can work to make your current job into one you love.

And if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe our dearly departed Steve Jobs, from his
commencement address to Stanford in 2005:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. And don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

The other drum that I keep beating is “Life is too short to spend in a crappy job.” Steve agrees.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Please, if you’re in a job you don’t like, change it. Change the job, or change jobs. If you’re stuck in the job because of the crappy job market, then at least make a little change in that direction. Start a side project that scratches an itch. Release it to the world. Do something awesome and spread it around.

As Steve said, quoted here: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

Thanks for everything, Steve.

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